Jack White apologises for The White Stripes’ previously cancelled show during London O2 arena gig

The singer also dedicates the show to late keyboardist Ikey Owens

Jack White played a career-spanning, two-hour set at London’s O2 Arena last night (November 19), telling the audience that the venue choice was an attempt to make up for The White Stripes’ previously cancelled gig at the same space.

The White Stripes were due to play The O2 Arena in 2007 but cancelled the show after drummer Meg White was diagnosed with acute anxiety.

Speaking to the audience at his solo gig, however, Jack White made reference to this previous event. “About 10 years ago I had a band called The White Stripes and we had a tour booked here but we had to cancel it, so that’s the reason we’re playing here,” he explained. He then went on to pay tribute to his former keyboardist, the late Ikey Owens. “We’re dedicating this to all the beautiful people we lost this year,” he began. “Ikey Owens, we lost you so this is dedicated to him today.”

The declarations came midway through a set that saw White play material from across his career, including a host of White Stripes and Raconteurs songs alongside his solo material.

Sporting his recently cut quiff hairstyle and clad in a blue shirt, with the rest of the stage bathed in blue light, White noted that there would be no special effects normally associated with an arena show. “This is an arena show tonight, but there’s no screens, no lasers, it’s just me and you together,” he stated after an opening salvo of ‘Fell In Love With A Girl’ and ‘High Ball Stepper’.

‘Lazaretto’ followed, while White encouraged the audience to sing a verse on their own during a countrified version of old White Stripes song ‘Hotel Yorba’. Violinist and singer Lillie Mae joined White on lead vocals for 2014 album track ‘Temporary Ground’, while Raconteurs track ‘Top Yourself’ was given a lengthy extended jam session in the middle.

The stage set up featured little by way of adornment save for a old fashioned television that showed static throughout and three lighting beams above the stage, marking out the ‘III’ of the singer’s adopted stage name of Jack White III. Elsewhere in the main body of the set, White and his backing band brought out old tracks ‘Astro’ and ‘Apple Blossom’ before encouraging a call and response singalong of ‘Steady, As She Goes’, making reference to everyone being “in the same little club together” and repeatedly teasing that he could “bring the fire and explosions if you want [him] to”.

Exiting for the first time, White then returned for a hit-packed encore full of old White Stripes songs including an opening ‘Dead Leaves And the Dirty Ground’, ‘Black Math’ and ‘Ball And Biscuit’. Solo track ‘Would You Fight For My Love?’ was introduced as a “true story”, while White finished with ‘Seven Nation Army’, making the crowd sing the guitar riff before bringing the song to a climax. Leaving for the final time, the singer thanked the audience, stating, “You’ve been incredible, and I’ve been Jack White”.

Jack White played:

‘Fell In Love With A Girl’
‘High Ball Stepper’
‘Hotel Yorba’
‘Temporary Ground’
‘Hypocritical Kiss’
‘Top Yourself’
‘Weep Yourself To Sleep’
‘John The Revelator’
‘Apple Blossom’
‘Love Interruption’
‘That Black Bat Liquorice’
‘Freedom At 21’
‘Steady, As She Goes’
‘Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground’
‘Black Math’
‘Broken Boy Soldier’
‘Ball And Biscuit’
‘Would You Fight For My Love?’
‘Just One Drink’
‘I’m Slowly Turning Into You’
‘Missing Pieces’
‘Seven Nation Army’